MEET THE MEN: Eight men and eight women are taking part in The Island on Channel 4
Bradford’s Bear Grylls aims to be positive role model for Muslim community
Channel 4’s latest series of Bear Gryll’s hit show, The Island, kicked off this week with Bradford’s own Rizwan Shabir leaving quite an impression on viewers and his fellow campmates.
The 26-year-old mobile phone shop owner is a self-confessed ‘huge fan of survival shows’ yet initially struggled to settle in camp when he arrived on the isolated archipelago.
Suffering what seemed to be a panic attack, the Yorkshireman said he had never felt his heart beat so fast as the team of eight men were forced to set up camp on what would turn out to be a uninhabitable tidal beach.
Eventually seeking shelter from the sea in the wild terrain, Rizwan was finally able to settle for a good night’s sleep – or as good as it can be on the jungle floor where spiders fall from the branches above and angry scorpions scuttle freely.
Unfortunately for his fellow contestants, Rizwan’s thunderous snoring prevented many others from achieving such a peaceful rest.
The show continues every Monday for 13 episodes. Whether Rizwan will survive until the end is yet to be seen, but his character is certainly getting plenty of attention on social media.
@Harry_wsykes was one of Rizwan’s fans writing: “Would love to go on The Island! Rizwan is hilarious! If he can survive this anyone can!”
However, others were less keen on the local husband and father.
“20 mins on the island #Rizwan [says] "you think you can do it? I dare you to sign up" Seriously. I've had worse experiences getting out the bath,” wrote @xCarlyMcx, whilst @DonEyles added: “Think Rizwan thought he had signed up to go to Ireland, not 'the island'. Rookie error. Drink those tears mate.”
As a practicing Muslim, Rizwan will face challenges others may not have to on the Island, as he only eats Halal meat and prays five times a day.
He says hopes he can be a positive role model for the Muslim community through the show and we the best of luck to our very own Rizwan Crusoe.
DETERMINED: Rizwan Shabir is representing Bradford on The Island
KING OF BIKING: Atul quit his job as a music management consultant to take to the road
Indian man adventures over five continents on a Royal Enfield Thunderbird
In February of this year, 38-year-old Atul Warrier from India quit his job as a music management consultant, sold his two bedroom flat in Bangalore alongside his plot of land and set off on an epic motorbike journey of a lifetime.
The journey - now affectionately known as ‘Warrier’s Trail’ - is set to eventually take the intrepid Indian across five continents, reaching the UK in May of next year.
Atul said to his Facebook followers this month: “I believe [that] it’s everybody's prayers and blessings that gave me the courage to take the plunge into the unknown.”
Atul is riding on a Royal Enfield Thunderbird from 2002, a beast of a bike that will hopefully take him across 40 countries in around 550 days.
Speaking to the Asian Express, Atul said: “I call my bike the Black Pearl. She’s a 2002 model Royal Enfield Thunderbird. I bought this bike in 2005 and it’s been with me since then.”
Atul’s mileage on the road has pushed the bike to her limits. However, the motorbike hasn’t given up on him.
He said: “I have a confidence and a connection with this machine, which was the primary reason for selecting this bike. It has been completely rebuilt - bottom up - for this journey. It is poles apart from the previous condition it was in. The modifications that I did were in keeping with how much distance I would travel, and the different types of terrain I was going to ride across. The seating position has been modified so that my posture is healthy.”
Atul explained that the interactions and experiences he has had so far on the road are truly an ‘eye-opener’.
“I have communicated with complete strangers who are free from all labels and judgements. I genuinely feel alive and the more I explore, the more I come into contact with the essential parts of myself,” he said.
“In normal life, we are so engulfed with the drive to be secure; outperform , exceed expectations, accumulate wealth and to add to that we have the pressure of the overbearing boss at the office, the nagging pressure from family and friends. When we’re stuck in the rat race, we miss out on several aspects of life.
RIDING THE WORLD: Atul’s route will take him across five continents
“Solo travel is the perfect way of getting back to our roots and it’s truly a journey of self-exploration. There is no-one to instruct you, there is nobody to plan anything for you. You make the decisions and you are completely responsible for every choice.”
Atul asks us to imagine a situation where we are in a new place; with new surroundings, a new language, new cultures, and surrounded by strangers.
He continued: “We start to depend on people or surroundings that are strange to us. Sometimes the lessons come at unwanted times and will give you unwanted truths. Sometimes you learn things you can’t unlearn and see things you can’t unsee.
“Certain moments of loneliness and complete silence can really test our minds. Some sights and elements can really rejuvenate us. This is when we get to realise and experience ‘ourselves’.”
Atul refers to himself as ‘an overland traveller’ and says his philosophy is: “Whatever has gone wrong, will go wrong, but when things go wrong somebody will arrive with a helping hand.
“I have had experiences of strangers going out of their way to help me. I was stuck in villages where there were no hostels or guest houses and it was villagers who opened their house for me to stay for a night. All this brings in confidence and the reality is that: ‘It’s a good world out there’.
“Let loose and live the moment, having no clue how that day will end,” Atul said, “then you will truly find an experience that will be cherished for a lifetime.”
On the road, Atul has met some amazing travellers and had surreal experiences of strangers opening their house to accommodate him and make him ‘part of the family.’
On the subject of friendship between strangers, Atul said: “We get to experience true relationships of human beings, when you’re a stranger in a strange land, there’s no badge to be attached to any relationship, or any agenda in your interactions. Nobody cares about what you say and what you do. It’s a truly liberating feeling.”
It hasn’t been all smooth sailing for the explorer. When Atul was travelling through a village in Thailand for example, he had an accident on his two-wheeled wonder.
He said: “I got my bike taken to the mechanic in the next town and got it repaired. I achieved this without speaking a single word of English and - to add to that - the mechanic didn’t charge a penny for the mechanical work. Isn’t it humbling?”
The next leg of Atul’s mind-blowing journey is riding across the Middle East and Europe.
“I will begin my journey from Oman, on the Arabian Peninsula, in the third week of January. My route is Oman, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Turkey, Greece and then I will enter Europe through Italy. I will be scheduled to arrive in the UK by May.”
If Atul’s story has sparked wanderlust, you can follow his progress at www.warrierstrail.com